Section on Teacher Preparation

Alma Robinson, Virginia Tech

After years of anticipation, Cody Sandifer and Eric Brewe have published Recruiting and Educating Future Physics Teachers: Case Studies and Effective Practices. Sponsored by PhysTEC, this peer-reviewed volume consists of invited and contributed chapters that are intended to be a practical guide for effective physics teacher preparation programs. In the following article, Sandifer and Brewe outline the structure of the book and summarize the key themes that emerged from their case studies.

If you are an avid reader of the Teacher Preparation Section, you know that many of the institutions that we feature are PhysTEC supported sites. In 2014, PhysTEC widened their support model by trying something new: recruiting grants of up to $10,000 per year for three years to help develop strategies for recruiting future physics teachers. In this issue, we highlight three of the nine sites that were selected for the first round of recruiting grants.

Steven Maier and Jenny Sattler of Northwestern Oklahoma State University (NWOSU) explain how four Oklahoma schools joined together to answer the request for proposals and created the OK PhysTEC Collaborative. Since receiving funding, NWOSU has developed an updated physics minor, a bridging course for students who have taken the algebra-based physics sequence to transition to a physics minor without also needing to take the calculus-based introductory sequence, and new pathways for students to become certified to teach high school chemistry and/or physics upon graduation.

Jay Wang, Stephen Witzig, Grant O’Rielly, and Alan Hirshfeld of the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth describe how PhysTEC support has helped them create a streamlined pathway for students to become licensed high school physics teachers through a five year, Physics BS/MATi degree program. In addition to the new degree program, UMass Dartmouth has hired a part-time Teacher in Residence as well as implemented new recruitment strategies to help attract future physics teachers.

Finally, Gail Welsh, Starlin Weaver, and Matthew Bailey discuss how Salisbury University’s (SU) recruiting grant has allowed them to attract more students into their existing secondary education track. Although SU’s secondary education program was excellent, only a few students graduated from the track. Through targeted marketing, early teaching experiences (both at SU through their Supplementary Instruction program and at local K12 schools), and the help of a part-time Teacher in Residence, their students have shown increased interest in teaching.

Disclaimer – The articles and opinion pieces found in this issue of the APS Forum on Education Newsletter are not peer refereed and represent solely the views of the authors and not necessarily the views of the APS.